IBM Announces 2011 Master the Mainframe Contest Winner in Australia

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Sydney, Australia - 28 Nov 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Vernon Tang, a Computer Science student at the University of New South Wales, has been named IBM Australia's 2011 "Master the Mainframe" contest winner. Tang's win comes from out-performing more than 400 undergraduate university students across Australia.

"The competition is now in its fourth year in Australia and it continues to attract strong interest from the next generation of IT professionals who are keen to test their skills," said Mike Schulze, director, IBM Australia Development Laboratory (ADL). “It demonstrates the central role for mainframe skills in the enterprise IT sector, and the competition is a great way for students to familiarise themselves with real-world scenarios.” 

The annual competition is designed to introduce students to concepts for the large enterprise computing industry and build mainframe skills for the 21st century. Contestants are provided with remote access to the contest mainframe server, and through a series of challenges - each becoming increasingly more difficult - they are tested to apply their technical, problem-solving and collaboration skills to real-life enterprise computing scenarios.  

"Knowing that mainframes have continued to run many aspects of today's world relatively unchanged for decades, they embodied a sense of mystique to me,” said this year’s winner, Vernon Tang. “I wanted to find out more, preferably in a hands-on fashion, and the contest was a perfect opportunity. Participating in the contest was a valuable eye-opener into the vastly different methods of mainframe computing, compared to other IT systems.” 

Qualifiers at three different stages of the competition in Australia were recognised with prizes; the top three qualifiers received an Apple iPad, the 12 qualifiers at stage two received an Amazon Kindle and 100 entrants received t-shirts.

 The annual contest is part of IBM's Academic Initiative for System z program, a global project by IBM to align with colleges, universities and businesses across the globe to develop mainframe and large enterprise skills for future employment with Fortune 500 companies across the globe. Now in its eighth year, The Academic Initiative for System z program has worked with more than 900 colleges and universities to help train and educate students in 67 countries. More than 32,941 high school, college, and university students from 17 countries have participated in the “Master the Mainframe” contest.

System z is the gold standard for ultra-reliable, secure management of high volumes of computer transactions. On July 12, 2011 IBM announced the new IBM zEnterprise 114 mainframe server, a powerful version of the IBM zEnterprise System designed to deliver Smarter Computing capabilities. The zEnterprise 114 is the most scalable mainframe ever, extending innovation and unique value to growing organizations including companies and governments in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa and beyond.

For more information on IBM Australia, visit

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